This is the first book I’ve read that had anything to do with a Saint. I’ve been interested in St Therese for a long time – she was the first Saint to whom I was introduced – and I obtained this book because I wanted to find out more about her ‘Little Way.’ I’m glad I did although I feel completely inadequate to even attempt it myself.
The Story of a Soul is Therese’s autobiography and written in three parts. The first, written for her sister (who was also her Mother Superior at the time of writing) gives an intimate account of her childhood and early years as a Carmelite nun. The second, written for another Mother Superior, is more formal and covers Therese’s spirituality while the third, again written for a sister who was with her at Carmel, is an ecstatic account of her suffering at the end of her (short) life. The whole hangs together very well, despite the different tones and was an easy read. I’m sure some credit for this should go to the translator.
Having read this, my first ‘life of a Saint’, I find myself both motivated and defeated. I am motivated to emulate Therese and her ‘Little Way’ but feel sure that I am defeated even before I begin. I do not relish suffering and find it hard to imagine any situation in which I would. Therese seems convinced that her life was only possible because God placed a specific desire within her for the suffering she endured. I am inclined to believe, therefore, that as I have no desire in that direction it is not the path to which I am called.